SUN V. COAL, A BATTLE BETWEEN DARKNESS AND LIGHT
Solar Industry Takes on Coal and Oil Lobbies
Todd Woody, October 27, 2009 (NY Times)
"A solar industry leader smacked down the oil and coal industries…calling for renewable energy proponents to open their wallets to level the playing field in Washington."
[Rhone Resch, CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association:] “The full promise of solar power is being restrained by the tyranny of policies that protect our competitors, subsidize wealthy polluters and disadvantage green entrepreneurs…”
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"...[Speaking at Solar Power International 2009]…the solar industry’s biggest annual get-together in the United States…[and] usually a celebration of the industry’s breakneck growth of recent years…Resch said that with the fossil fuel industry devoting tens of millions of dollars to defeat climate change legislation now before Congress, the solar industry needs to start throwing its weight around Washington."
[Rhone Resch, CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association:] “How our country proceeds on climate change will permanently shape the market for solar…[The fossil fuel industries] are spending millions of dollars on lobbying, P.R. and advertising, and much of it is financing a deliberate effort to discredit our industry…At the end of the day in Washington, good intentions won’t stand a chance against millions of dollars and intense political pressure. We have relied on good will long enough, and if that’s the only arrow in our quiver, we will lose.”
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"…[T]he solar industry is coming off quite a successful year in Washington, winning a slew of tax breaks, incentives and loan guarantees for solar energy development…But Mr. Resch said fossil fuel industries received $72 billion in federal subsidies between 2002 and 2008 while the solar industry scored less than $1 billion…His solution: Start playing the influence game, raising big money for politicians and mobilizing constituents to pressure Congress to support the solar agenda…Mr. Resch said the new aggressiveness reflects the solar industry’s continued growth, even in a deep recession. He noted that attendance at the Solar Power International conference has doubled since 2007, with 25,000 people [attending the conference]…"
[Rhone Resch, CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association:] “Taxpayers are forced to subsidize companies like ExxonMobil, companies that are the richest in the history of the world…In 2008, the oil industry contributed $22 million to political candidates, the utility industry $21 million…The solar industry: $138,000. We cannot compete with the entrenched energy interests unless we step up our game…We need to take a different role in our advocacy, in our relationships in Washington and our ability to influence directions that affect the outcome of our economy…”